Splitting a 401(k) in a divorce

The divorce rate for Americans over 50 is at a record high.  Employer-sponsored retirement plans comprise a large portion of the wealth of this age group.  Because California is a community property state, the division of marital property must be done fairly between both spouses.

It is important to understand the rules that govern the division of retirement plans in a divorce.  A Qualified Domestic Relations Order divides the ownership of a retirement plan, which could include pension benefits, stock options, 401(k) plans or other assets.  In addition, it protects the account owner from paying taxes and early-withdrawal penalties on assets transferred to a former spouse.

An order should be prepared by an experienced attorney, approved by the family court and then submitted to the administrator of your former spouse’s 401(k).

If you have questions regarding benefits from your former spouse’s retirement plan, contact an experienced Orange County Family Law attorney who will answer all of your questions and cover all of your family issues.